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The article analyzes the phenomenon of ‘new’ catastrophes determined by the specifics of contemporary vulnerabilities, i.e. the growing structural dysfunction of the complex system of society and/or techno-natural system. The authors show that this dysfunctionality is caused by both human activities and the system’s internal reflexivity; it depends on system’s ability to bear external and internal burdens of emergent and turbulent nature, which implies the uncertainty of catastrophes. The article emphasizes that the majority of ‘new’ disasters manifest in ‘liquid’ forms, which leads to the growth of permanent uncertainties in all spheres of life, while there are obvious limitations in the use of modern scientific knowledge for managing complex vulnerabilities. Many scientific innovations within the paradigm of ‘new catastrophism’ aim to study the emerging social-natural realities to find ways to minimize vulnerabilities. The authors show such ways on the example of new sociological approaches to the analysis of climate changes, ‘dead land’, ‘dead water’, and ‘normal accidents’. The efficiency of such approaches is determined by the integration of social and natural sciences achievements and by interdisciplinary efforts to develop principles of non-linear knowledge. However, the weakness of these approaches is determined by the focus on principles of formalism and pragmatism that limit the potential of the humanities. The authors call for a humanistic turn that would combine scientific, social and humanitarian knowledge, and allow to over-come ideology and practices of anthropocentrism so as to ensure a new humanism necessary to minimize consequences of ‘new’ catastrophes and to develop the humanistic strategy for the future.

About the authors

S A Kravchenko

Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University)

Email: sociol7@yandex.ru
prosp. Vernadskogo, 76, Moscow, 119454, Russia

A E Perova

Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University)

Email: aeperova@yandex.ru
prosp. Vernadskogo, 76, Moscow, 119454, Russia


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Copyright (c) 2017 Kravchenko S.A., Perova A.E.

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